Dominant Pirates Reserves Sweep Past Sundowns

Orlando Pirates Reserves delivered a clinical performance in their first game of 2024, thumping their Mamelodi Sundowns peers with a convincing 4-1 scoreline at Tsakane Stadium to climb atop the DStv Diski Challenge standings.

Following a month-long recess in the Reserve League, the Bucs Reserves resumed action with a clash against one of the Club’s biggest rivals after the two sides had begun the weekend occupying the top two spots in the standings.

The two Gauteng giants provided a fitting spectacle to conclude the year’s first festival, overcoming a tentative start at both ends before providing some excitement for the sizeable crowd that had gathered at the venue.

After just 12 minutes of play, it was again level after both outfits had troubled the scorers following a ninth-minute opener from Kutlwano Letlhaku, who pulled Sundowns ahead with a long-range shot that evaded the outstretched Zoey Monyepao.

The Tshwane outfit’s advantage was cancelled out just three minutes later, courtesy of a storming run on the right from Mohau Nkota who located Mpumelelo Ndaba inside the penalty area, with the lanky striker needing no second invitation in turning the ball into the back of the net.

It remained a fast-paced contest throughout the opening 45 minutes, as each side demanded some intervention from the man behind the poles at either end.

Pirates’ best chance since drawing level came courtesy of Nkota, who drew a save from

Sundowns keeper Fanie Raludzingana while the visitors had a close opportunity of their own denied by Monyepao 27 minutes into the encounter.

With no further goals scored at either end of the field inside the first 45 minutes, the home side could have pulled ahead early in the second half through debutant Cemran Dansin whose shot from a long way out was kept out by Raludzingana.

They continued to probe with most of the action occurring on the right side of the field, where Jabulani Mokone and replacement forward Ciniso Mazibuko featured prominently.

The breakthrough would however occur on the opposite flank, sparked up by Nkota who was brought down inside the penalty area with less than 20 minutes of regulation time left on the clock.

The Pirates attacker took the spot-kick responsibility upon himself and was composed in slotting home to give his side the lead for the first time in the contest.

Monyepao remained a solid presence in the Bucs defensive third, pulling off another fantastic save which soon proved to be twice as crucial when Nkota went from scorer to provider inside six minutes after his cutback from the left located Lulama Nxumalo, whose shot from the edge of the box doubled the Buccaneers lead.

Now boasting a healthy two-goal lead, the Soweto Giants were unconfined in their approach which yielded yet another goal in the 86th minute, finished off by Nkota as he went around Raludzingana to shoot at an empty net while putting the result beyond doubt.

The four goals happened to be more than sufficient for Joseph Makhanya’s young troops who took all points on offer convincingly, ascending past Sundowns and Stellenbosch to the top of the standings.

Pirates Reserves XI: Monyepao, Magugwana, Mbokazi, Mokone, Mohlala, Molepo, Masemola, Dansin (Ngobeni 71’), Nkota, Magadla (Mazibuko 54’), Ndaba (Nxumalo 71’).

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